Name: Randy Gregory
College: University of Nebraska
Height / Weight: 6’5” / 235 lbs
S.U. Rank: 3
Potential NFL Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers
There’s no question that Randy Gregory is one of the better defensive ends in the draft — it’s a big and obvious reason he’s in our top three at that position — but like the other big names (Shane Ray, Leonard Williams), the question is where he fits in best, not if he’ll go early.
Both San Francisco and Pittsburgh have some issues they’ll need to address on the defensive side of the ball in order to get things going the way they’d like to in 2015. That in mind, here are three reasons Randy Gregory will keep any offense he opposes on their heels:
1. Handy-Dandy Randy
What makes Randy Gregory stand out right off the bat is his unmatched build and capability to get his hands high in the air like no other defense end out there. Within a Pittsburgh defensive scheme, this would be even more chaotic, more specifically for the AFC North, because the Steelers are already known for a blitz-heavy style of play and blocking the quarterback’s vision will only making things worse.
By the bay area, Gregory would again give the 49er-faithful something to root for, especially when a team like Seattle or St. Louis comes to town. Both the Rams and the Seahawks are known for having stifling defenses, and having someone like Gregory on your defensive team will mean that your defenses are comparable in at least one fashion.
What Gregory reminds me a lot of, if I had to compare him to a current NFL player, would be J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans — and here’s why. Watt plays with intensity not seen since the likes of Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh or Michael Strahan in New York and now it seems the torch is being passed to a guy like Gregory.
The thing that’s even more exciting is the idea of Gregory and Watt going toe-to-toe as leaders of opposing defenses — especially now that the Texans will have former Patriot Vince Wilfork and former first-round draft pick Jadeveon Clowney ready for action when the games begin.
This, I tell you, is the next big thing in fundamental football.
2. All Hail The Husker
Nebraska has produced some quality content in terms of players that shared their time on the field as a Cornhusker and now play for a team in the NFL. Previous standouts from Nebraska that currently find themselves in the pros include Tampa Bay Bucs LB Lavonte David and of course the infamous Lion-turned-Dolphin Ndamukong Suh.
Talk about a tale of two cities.
While David and Suh have taken different paths when it comes to their personal behavior off the field (and sometimes even on it), when it comes to getting in a grind on the gridiron they are not players you want to mess with.
Gregory fits right in to that kind of category.
Being able to lead a team as a young gun is something seemingly mastered recently by Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. In just three seasons as a pro, Wilson has made it to the Super Bowl the last two seasons and fell just a single yard shy of being the captain of the first team to repeat as champs in nearly a decade.
Talk about walking the walk.
While yes, leading from the defensive side of the ball is different, it has a nonetheless strengthening effect on your entire team in the locker room. Motivational speeches or moments need to be handled by a captain — someone with integrity, courage, and guts to say it how it is, not always just someone who’s been through that particular situation before.
As always, actions will speak louder than words. Period.
3. Any Given Sunday
Not only do NFL franchises need to be sure they have talented guys on their roster that can back up their talk with their play and character, but they also need to be aware of picking up stars or diamonds in the rough that can carry themselves well on and off the field on a consistent basis.
A poor example would be Johnny Manziel with the Cleveland Browns.
Yes, Manziel is actually appearing to be doing a lot better than during the season when things got a little hot and bothered, but the roller coaster of emotion that the organization went through with the talented youngster was nearly not worth the cost.
But Gregory is.
Gregory plays with confidence not matched by any defensive end, not even Shane Ray or Leonard Williams, and that will help him go far in his NFL pursuit of a dream. Being able to take losses like a man, handle your emotions and personal business privately and without the need for attention, and being able to do so day in and day out can help the others on a team and even go further than just the field.
After all, we haven’t lost all the gentlemen yet, have we?
Do you want to look at more prospect profiles? Then click 2015 NFL Draft Top Prospects Rankings: Top-3 QB, RB, WR, S, CB, OLB, DE